doctorMy exact title is Family Care Practitioner Tier II. I have been working in this family care practice for about a year. Before that, I worked in an inner city clinic attached to a hospital. I have been working as a physician for 25 years, 2 months, and some odd weeks at this point.

Basically I listen to people and try to find out solutions for what ails them. I do an incredible amount of paperwork in the process. I am not sure that most people realize that actually. In fact, I spend most of my time on paperwork some days. Right now, we are switching to an electronic system and I am told that I will spend less time on paperwork. I envision that I will simply be spending more time at a computer screen doing "digital paperwork" as such.

I love my job. I have known I wanted to be a physician ever since I was little. My dog got hit by a car and the veterinarian pieced him back together and made him almost as good as new. I remember thinking that it was magic, actually. At first, I wanted to become a vet. I volunteered at a vet's office one summer when I was a teen and got bit by a dog. It was a pretty nasty bite and at that point, I decided I did not want to become a vet. It was then that I decided to become a doctor. I theorized that I could still work "magic" but wouldn't get bit in the process! I have to say that I have been bit by humans, but everyone who has bit me has been under the age of 2.

I enjoy working as a family care practitioner. However, I really loved the stints I took on working at clinics. I loved working with the patients on the Indian reservation out in the middle of nowhere. I also really enjoyed working in the inner city clinic. A lot of people can't stand doing that sort of work, but I enjoyed it. However, working at a clinic doesn't really pay too much. My kids are older now and I need to be making good money to save for college for them and pay off some bills. Therefore, I had to leave the clinic and go to work here. My job at this practice is a piece of cake compared to working at the clinics. I work mornings on call several days a week and one weekend a month.

I have learned that becoming a doctor costs a lot of money; medical school is very expensive. I suppose if I had to do it all over again, I'd ask for richer parents. That way, I wouldn't have had to take out all the loans I did! My son wants to follow in my footsteps and become a physician. While I am thrilled that he wants to be like me, I'm also a little bit worried for him. I'm not sure how health care will be changing in the future. Will he even be able to afford to be a doctor?

Insurance issues definitely make me want to pull out my hair. Knowing all the intricacies of the insurance plans available really drives me up a wall. Giving substandard care to my patients simply to appease the insurance companies also drives me crazy. For example, we have many patients who are on medical assistance but really need to get flu shots. We only get a very small number of doses for these patients in our practice each year. In addition, we usually get the doses well into flu season which really compromises the health of many people. I have started advising some of my patients to go to the drug store for a flu shot instead of waiting to get them at our practice. That is absolutely insane.

My job is actually pretty stressful. However, stress is not always such a bad thing, depending upon your personality. I really find a small amount of stress to be very invigorating. I'm not addicted to stress or the adrenaline rush you can get from handling stressful situations well, though. If I liked that sort of thing, I would become an emergency room physician, which I have no desire to do.

If I could write my own ticket, in 5 years I'd be back working at a clinic of some sort. A friend of mine just started working in a clinic in Alaska. He loves it. If I could write my own ticket, I'd go to work at the clinic with him. Perhaps that might be possible after I "retire."

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